April 18, 2019 | 60° F

Construction in New Jersey, Rutgers continues to grow

Photo by Colin Pieters |

The construction on the College Avenue campus has been a constant presence since the beginning of the school year in 2014, but the mounds of dirt and clouds of dust are not exclusive to the University, as New Jersey as a state continues to increase rates of construction.

The construction work currently taking place at Rutgers is hard to miss, but is not exclusive to the University campuses — New Jersey construction is on the rise and increasing dramatically.

There are five factors driving New Jersey’s construction increase, said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

“Higher education, multifamily housing, warehouse distribution, data centers and health care centers are specific sectors of New Jersey’s rise of construction,” he said.

There has been an increase of 10,000 construction jobs in 2014 and an increase of 7,900 construction jobs during January and February, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's website. 

Permits for construction rose 4.6 percent, which is the highest point since June 2008, according to nj.com. Residential construction rose 12.1 percent in 2012 and is expected to advance 14 percent this year.

On the Rutgers campus, the honors college on the College Avenue campus is under construction and is expected to be completed by Fall 2015, according to Rutgers' website. A new academic building and student apartment complex are also projects under construction. This is the most widespread period of capital construction in the University’s history. 

Gov. Chris Christie announced the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund act that placed $750 million for construction, to ensure the future of higher education in New Jersey. A total of 176 construction projects were developed, including research laboratories, computerized classrooms and cyber networks, according to nj.gov.

Hughes said higher education is being developed on campus with the honors college construction, the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering and in the possible future expansion of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, both on Busch campus. 

The second sector, multifamily housing, has increased dramatically, according to northjersey.com. Construction in the multifamily sector in New Jersey increased, particularly along the waterfront from Jersey City to Fort Lee. 

At Rutgers, construction in the multifamily sector is noticeable on Somerset Street, where new rentals are under construction, Hughes said.

“This reflects a national boom due to demographics,” Hughes said.

Historically, multifamily housing counted for about 40 percent of total housing while 60 percent counted for about single-family housing, Hughes said. Now 60 percent counts for multifamily housing and 40 percent counts for single-family housing, which is a new dimension to the housing market.

The third sector is warehousing distribution or fulfillment centers, Hughes said. New Jersey is the third largest warehouse distribution state in the country, taking up about 900 million square feet.

“As the Internet and websites like Amazon grow, this will only increase,” he said.

Data centers, where servers and data are maintained, contribute to the rise of construction in New Jersey, Hughes said. New Jersey is one the main centers for data and is located in close proximity to Manhattan for trading activity.

The expansion of health care centers is the final sector of construction, Hughes said. New Jersey is expanding the network of health care to medically undeserved neighborhoods to ensure an increase of primary and preventive health care, according to nj.gov.

Hughes cautioned the increase of New Jersey’s construction employment might be revised downward due to the cold temperatures in the winter months, according to northjersey.com. He said in northjersey.com that cold weather causes problems and tends to decrease employment and delay job completion because it is difficult to work outside.

But construction worker Jack Blaire from construction company HC Construct has been working on the College Avenue campus for the entire school year.

“It has been really busy," he said. "We have been working non-stop since July (and) construction is doing very well."

Editor's Note: This article has been edited from the original printed version.

Noa Halff

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